The Occupy Wall Street campaign has inspired millions across the country and the world to evaluate their governments and the strangle hold corporations have on career politicians. Occupy New York has even managed to raise $500,000 to continue the fight “to end the tyranny of the 1%.”
But ending “the tyranny of the 1%” is more about decisions we make every day versus donating or supporting a protest (which is taking donations by major credit cards?!?!). Lifestyle choices like living in a smaller home, eating local and vegetarian, and conserving energy by buying second hand and trading items with friends all give the middle finger to Wall Street, Exxon, Shell, BP, ConAgra, Unilever, etc. etc.
Breaking it down:
Live in a smaller place. Shrink the size of your mortgage with Bank of America or Wells Fargo. Large houses not only put you in a financial chokehold they also use up large amounts of resources. They have to be filled with “stuff” like furniture and nick nacks. You’ll waste time shopping and cleaning! Here’s Graham Hill’s excellent TED talk Less Stuff, More Happiness where he shows off his 420 sqare foot New York apartment. You don’t have to be held hostage by thousands of square feet and a loan.
Eat local, fresh, and try being a vegetarian to support local farmers and small businesses. Packaged foods not only require large amounts of fuel to get them in to those handy serving size containers, but they also prop up large corporations like Tyson and ConAgra while stealing business away from your local orchard or farm. For more information on the importance of eating local, fresh and vegetarian for the environment check out: the documentary Food, Inc. , The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan, or peta.org’s section on fighting global warming by going veg.
Buy used, reuse, or trade belongings with your friends because it saves energy, which Big Oil hates. Why does it save energy? Because producing anything new takes energy/resources – Physics 101. Before running to the mall visit GoodWill, The Salvation Army, Out of the Closet or any number of other second hand stores.
Or better yet – trade stuff with your friends! It will give you a reason to talk to them in person, not just FaceBook them. True story - This summer I was all jazzed to learn how to make homemade ice cream. I was going to go to the mall and buy the KitchenAid Stand Mixer ice cream maker attachment. Luckily I happened to see one of my friends in person (not just on twitter) and they said, “Take the ice cream maker we never use.” So I did, saved 100 bucks and - long story short - I suck at making ice cream. But now I know that and I didn’t damage the environment!
My point people is please don’t wait for a movement or economic collapse to take a life inventory and learn what you can and cannot live without. You don’t have to become a monk just live more and have less.